Responding to the health secretary Matt Hancock’s announcement that a new organisation, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) will be established from 1st April, Dr Layla McCay, director of policy at the NHS Confederation said:
“We welcome the news of the creation of a new national agency for health security, UKHSA. The Covid-19 pandemic has shone a light on the importance of our preparedness for incoming threats to our health security, including future pandemics, and we look forward to learning more about how UKHSA will work with public health experts locally and nationally to deliver this important function.
"It is and has always been crucial that local health leaders are allowed the autonomy to work together with colleagues in local government and across public health, the importance of which has been highlighted over the past year and in our joint response to the COVID-19 crisis.
"Covid-19 has also shone a light on the critical role of population health in creating the resilience we need for current and future health threats. As changes to our public health function unfold, we now look forward to hearing more detail about plans for delivering the health promotion and improvement functions that will help reduce health inequalities, build resilience, and strengthen the nation’s health.
"We will now await more detail and guidance from Government to understand how the central and local functions of both health security and health promotion will work together, learning the lessons from our response to the pandemic over the last twelve months."